Science, research and study are the foundations of progress, economic development and a healthier and more robust civilization.
A wave of conservative radio and TV talk shows and blogs are promoting ideas and politicians in absolute denial of science. It is amazing but true. Some use blatant denial of science as justification for not taking steps toward a clean environment, or to eliminate toxins in our air and water, or to deny global warming even in light of massive changes in climate throughout the world. The results as people in California have learned in 2017-2018 can be disaster. Californians learned how costly ignoring voices of science is, the results there are disastrous and deadly. Scientists for years have warned that California, for example, would suffer from higher temperatures, less rain and drought. Science repeatedly called for 'change'. First California had the worst water shortages in decades after ignoring years of science warning of water issues. Farmers suffered first, then towns and cities, as their lakes, rivers and water sources diminished. Then we saw the massive forest fires sweeping the West Coast -- all predicted by science and debunked by political leaders who denied science.
Science can be a tool for preservation, a tool for thriving as a people, a tool for economic progress and world leadership.
Science, engineering and people with initiative to study and discover new technologies have helped make America the most affluent nation on earth.
We often wonder if the current breed of "science deniers" are influenced by big money from big business in industries that science might point out can pollute our environment or threaten our existence. We are told that many industries can have higher profits if they do not have to consider science that shows that by spending a bit more money on products early we can prevent millions of deaths later. When big business spews out toxins into our air, water, or environment, or distributes products that are carcinogenic or unhealthy, billions of health costs follow. Big business in many cases seems simply not to want the additional responsibility and expense of having to "do better."
Consider DNA and the research we have seen in the past three decades. We know more about human DNA than ever in history. We can spot DNA patterns that can have huge impacts on informing people of health and mortality issues. Yet there are those that simply do not want this science to progress out of "fear" of cost, liability, superstition and other issues. I believe one of the reasons is that DNA can often predict the health and mortality issues brought about by abuses of toxins in our environment.
Consider big business. When an industry booms, there are side effects. Imagine a new auto manufacturing plant. Toxic gases, materials, or liquids might be utilized or released in ways that can impact life and health on earth. Yet, it is inconvenient and costly for big business to recognize that and to steps to remediate or prevent toxins from spewing out onto our environment.
The refrain in business is often: "Make hay while the sun shines" and the few inspectors or regulators are overwhelmed by momentum. Science warns us, informs us, and points out solutions. But implementation of "doing things better" often lowers initial profits. All to often big business goes first for profits, and human health and safety are after-thoughts. But from time to time, we see a few "bright lights" at the top of the corporate world, who believe that spending a bit more time and research, and taking advantage of new safety methods, designed by science, may cost in the short run, but the benefits of a healthier and more productive society far outweigh the cost.
It is refreshing when we see, from time to time, a big oil company or a large manufacturing company, for example, take steps to lower the toxins their work produces. Those are people of "social responsibility." I call them heroes for humanity. The exceptional ones do not deny science, they embrace it and bring progress. It is those people who counter some of the negatives of the ones who would "go backward" into non-science caves.
When we consider science and the impacts it has on industry and development, it is almost overwhelming.
Science, technology and research are the most powerful economic foundation builders that a nation can have.
Science leads us to good education, to training young leaders in research and leading them to love the progress and potential of knowledge, and how it can help mankind. There is often a new world, a new perspective in the view of microscopes. There are young people devoted to new energy sources. People who are devoted to defeating cancer. Science devoted to making the lives of sick and elderly better. Science devoted to making business better, more sustainable, contributes to better lives and economies.
A generation of self-appointed business pundits and politicians are extolling the idea to deny science, ignore experts on climate, air quality, water quality, food safety and ignore predictions of drought, extreme weather events and even global impacts on atmosphere and inner space. These loud people with blinders on want to discredit science, but in doing so they restrain the scientific elements of our society that bring progress, hope, growth, prosperity and health. They, like all backward people of history, threaten the foundations of economic growth, technical progress and the foundations of financial expansion and intelligent industrial renewal.
Recall Hitler and the witch hunters of history who burned books, and sometimes people. They attacked a free press and shunned open and clear research and thinking. Caligula, the dark emperor of the Roman Empire, exemplified the worst kind of man with blinders and obsessions. He killed political foes, destroyed reputations, murdered or shunned senators who opposed him. His inner circle became a circular pattern of death as he relentlessly "fired" and often executed his closest advisors. Working for Caligula became a threat to life. He spent recklessly on personal whims while driving that nation into a backward direction that eventually led to the financial ruin of the Roman Empire. History is replete with examples of people with obsessive "blinders."
Travel throughout the world and a review of history in the last two centuries illustrates how political regimes change names, destroy buildings, change even street signs, while they destroy temples of worship, destroy research to alter facts to their preferred perception of truth. The target in the United States seems to be to attack, even erase the credibility of science, technology and scientific truth. Ironically, science is based upon premises of discovery, fact, reality and intense scrutiny. Science does not cater to personal whims, political ideologies or religious dogma. Science considers evidence, logic and intellectual honesty as it's highest goals.
I invite you to believe our nation is a great and wonderful land. The brilliance of the USA has been that it has not allowed science to be held back by politics or religious influence. There is nothing wrong with America becoming greater. One basic and essential way we can be "greater" is to "Make Americans Smart Again." The very foundations of America’s prosperity, growth and leadership around the world are at risk by ill-conceived bashing of science and high technology. This bashing seems to cater to "more ignorance" and denial of objective fact. These people, with "obsessive blinders" tend to fight science, technology and innovation.
It seems, as with the rich and powerful leaders of the Dark Ages, some wish to dumb down the masses in America. They seek to appeal to the less educated or troubled people, and that appears to be those who most follow the rich and powerful science bashers.
Franklin, Jefferson, Einstein, Carnegie, Ford, Edison, Bacon, Galileo and Newton must be turning over in their graves at the attacks on science and technology.
MASA is our new motto. Make America Smart Again.
My vote, and I hope yours, is to encourage science, education, research, the logic of research and objective truth. To encourage in-depth research and discovery. To re-establish and renew confidence in facts, finding truth, and then have the imagination to use these tools to create more and more ways to enhance the quality of life. Perhaps the "no science" people should consider the lives of frontier Americans, their ancestors, who lived in log homes with dirt floors, no electricity nor running water. Light came from wood-burning fires or later simple lanterns that burned whale oil. No radio. No telephone. No television. No internet. No antibiotics. No motorized vehicles. No airplanes. Can you imaging going backward to a time without the benefits of science and progressive technology?
Yet many politicians and wealthy businessmen seem to be embracing a philosophy, like the book burners of old, of "fear knowledge, fight science."
The Catholic church and religious leaders waged war against the growing ideas of scientific thought in the 1500-1700's. The "Dark Ages" were a time when science and objective research was labeled as evil, and the world went so stagnant, with lives of the masses so desperate it has been called the "Dark Ages". Then only a few wealthy Kings and Religious Leaders, had access to discovery, science, research and that was because they "bought" and kept men of knowledge in their castles and temple compounds. It was popular then and later for religious leaders to attack science. Roger Bacon, scientist was imprisoned in 1279 died in prison by the Catholic Church. In 1553 Michel Servetus, writer on science and astronomy was put to death by religious leaders. Giordano Bruno, mathematician and astronomer was burned at the stake by Catholic leaders. Galileo, astronomer, physicist and engineer was called the father of modern physics, the father of scientific method. The Catholic Church convicted him of heresy for stating that planets revolve around the sun, and he was put under "house arrest in 1616". Some of the world's greatest thinkers were executed by religious and political leaders. The church lost that battle as the truth of "light" and discovery, technology and science progressed. Only when religious leaders stopped attacking science did the church begin to reform and appeal to the youth of the 20th Century.
"Teach your children well" the song says. Let us continue to expand the potential of our world and endorse, support and encourage science. And perhaps we should elect more educated political leaders, those who have eyes on progress, not those who want to go back to the primitive thinking that we fortunately have grown out of in the most recent century.